Hazing News

Guilty pleas from Darleta McKennis-Weems and Jessica Reynolds, and Ashley Moore in Missouri hazing case

Three Zeta Phi Beta women at Southeast Missouri street were given probation
and community service for striking and abusing pledges. This is the school where Michael Davis died in a 1994 hazing incudent.
Story excerpt: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 Southeast Missourian

Three members of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority pleaded guilty Monday in circuit court in Jackson to third-degree assault for hazing a prospective member in February. Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp suspended imposition of sentence and placed each defendant on two years’ probation.

The defendants — Darleta McKennis-Weems and Jessica Reynolds, both 23, and 22-year-old Ashley Moore, all of Cape Girardeau — were ordered to perform 40 hours of community service each.

The judge also ordered the defendants to avoid any contact with the national sorority or any of its members as a condition of probation.

Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said he agreed to drop misdemeanor hazing charges in exchange for the guilty pleas on the assault charges.

The women were involved in hazing a prospective member by forcing her to eat a mixture of food taken from a garbage can, striking her with a closed fist and spraying her in the face with a liquid.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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